Firms Untangle Federal Wireless Bills

By Matthew Weigelt
Special to the Washington Post
Monday, January 28, 2008

The General Services Administration has picked three Northern Virginia companies to help federal agencies manage their spending on wireless services. The government expects to spend $93 million through the five-year program.

The local companies receiving telecommunications expense management contracts are Booz Allen Hamilton and iSYS, both of McLean, and Avalon Technology of Arlington.

Government agencies frequently struggle with confusing wireless service plans and billing errors. Under the contract, the companies -- all of which have experience in the area -- will assist federal agencies in selecting the best service plans, resolving billing errors and conducting inventories of wireless devices. The goal is to cut federal wireless bills by up to 25 percent, the GSA said.

The companies will compete with one another for agencies' orders. So far, 14 agencies plan to use the contract so they can save money through the bulk purchase of wireless services.

Jin Kang, president of iSYS, said orders on the contract are already pending.

While Avalon Technology and iSYS have both performed this type of work for agencies before, "it will get our foot in the door with a lot of other agencies," Kang said.

ISYS, which was founded in 1999, has 55 employees. The company may hire as many as 25 workers because of the award, Kang said.

ISYS has managed wireless expenses for the Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This month, WidePoint of Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., bought iSYS for an unspecified amount. Under the deal, iSYS will operate as a subsidiary and keep its name.

Irv Rodrigues, Avalon Technology's president and chief technology officer, established the company in 1997. The company has 60 employees.

Avalon Technology's first government contract was with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in telecommunications services. The company connected FDIC's bank auditors in the field with the headquarters. That contract pulled Avalon Technology into the managed services arena.

Rodrigues expects to initially assign about 15 employees to the GSA contract. If the first wave of business is strong, he will consider subcontracting a portion of it.

Business could be brisk, he said. The agencies "have been waiting for this program for two years," he said.

Matthew Weigelt is a reporter with Federal Computer Week. For more news on government contracting, go tohttp://www.fcw.com.

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